time horizon survey personal development plan strategy

How to define a time horizon for a personal strategy?

You may have already responded to the personal strategy survey. If yes, then this article shows you the results. If not, you can answer a few clarifying questions so that we can take your opinion into account.

Do people need a formal personal plan or personal strategy, according to which it will be more effective to implement their long-term goals?

If they need such a plan, what time horizon they choose? These are the questions we asked hundreds of people and got exciting results.

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The results exceeded our expectations: the majority votes for a clear and detailed plan of action to achieve their long-term goals.

Do people need a formal long-term plan?

personal strategy surveyIn the diagram, you can see the answers to the first question. They show that the topic of personal planning for most people is quite relevant. Many of them set quite ambitious goals; the achievement of which on the fly is problematic.

In many cases, to achieve the goals, we need to make plenty of steps, i.e. combinations of different actions and the achievement of secondary and intermediate goals to finally reach the main one. In this case, it is impossible to manage without a clear plan. That is what the survey shows.

What exactly do we see?

  1. The vast majority are in favour of creating a long-term plan to achieve their goals without any reservations. Fine!
  2. One fifth (20%) does not need any long-term plan (red sector in the diagram).

If you belong to this 20% and consider that achieving the goal does not require any planning, then most likely your goal belongs to one or several of the following options:

  • Target too general
  • The goal is not specific
  • The goal is not ambitious
  • The goal is short-term, and to achieve it requires to focus a small number of efforts.

What time horizon for personal planning to choose?

If we still make a strategic plan, then what time horizon for planning to choose? Despite the variety of answers, we see the following clear trends:

  1. Most respondents are ready to develop their plan for just for 1 or 2 next years. If you are at the beginning of developing a personal strategy, then this is better than nothing. After all, the plan for one year is better than nothing.
  2. Every fourth respondent would like to make a strategy for five years or more. It would be great if they developed such a long-term plan.

Even though almost everyone (80%) needs a long-term plan, very few people create it. There are many reasons for this. Some of them are associated with the motivation to achieve goals. For example, the goal itself does not even motivate people to plan and reach it. In this case, you need to sort out and rework your goals to find the true ones. If you find real intentions, the problems with motivation to achieve them should disappear.

Some of the reasons that people are not able to create a long-term plan are because not everyone has skills and knowledge of proper long-term planning. To create a qualified plan requires knowledge of the framework for this challenging task.

Large companies even hire consultants and pay millions to create a competent and implementable strategy with a step-by-step implementation plan. For ordinary people, except for financial and tax planning, there are no such services on the market.

At school, we are taught to count and write, but not prepared to plan. In the universities, they teach us how to plan the activities of organisations, and that is rather superficial. And your personal goals, dear citizens, as my teacher used to say, “are your own problems”.

For almost 20 years, I have been doing different types of planning for organisations and business. Latest innovations in strategic planning largely determine the competitiveness of companies, organisations and even states. Do you think this could apply to people? Of course, yes.

That is why some time ago, I created a methodology that uses the most advanced methods and tools of business planning and adapted them to develop a full-scope personal strategy. During this work, a couple of entirely new concepts have emerged, which you are going to study on our course.

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Is it right to develop a personal plan for the year?

Some people replied that they need a plan for only one or two years. It turns out this is a problem. I did not know about this problem before until I’ve read one interesting scientific work.

It turns out that a one-year personal strategy adds no or little value to your long-term results — short-sighted planning problems covered in the current chapter.

On the diagram, you can see a demonstration of the principle of the scale of thinking presented in the study “Human Capabilities” by Elliot Jaques.

stratas time horizon personal planning strategy modes trajectories career pathsThe fact is that, as many have guessed, our business skills depend on the scale of our thinking. And business skills for most areas of life are most important. It is quite understandable when a person cannot reveal his potential for reasons beyond his control. But what if the one cannot show its abilities just because of ignorance?

It is usually considered that business (and professional) abilities are inherent properties of the person that help people make careers in organisations and business. It turns out no. Some things affect our business abilities, and a person can directly influence them. I’ll show you how.

So what does our business skills depend on? According to Elliot Jaques:

Abilities = Thinking Scale × Competence × Motivation × Self Management

How to develop the competence, motivation and ability to control oneself is generally understandable. We acquire these qualities through training, practice, experience and self-development. These activities are what most people do and compete in.

And what about the scale of thinking? It turns out that, other things being equal, it is the scale of thinking that determines the ability to make a career.

The fact is that a person performing a specific role (in a position) needs thinking that can cope with the level of complexity of this post. To do this, a person should have the ability to hold in mind a particular time perspective for making a decision.

This time perspective is called the time horizon. It turns out that the scale of your thinking is directly related to this time horizon:

The scale of thinking = Time horizon × Level of difficulty of thinking

There is something to think about, is not it?

The graphs in the diagram above show the dependence of the scale of thinking on the age of a person and the time horizon of his or her thinking.
We will take a closer look at this diagram below, but even more detailed work on this topic is waiting for you in an open (accessible without registration) lesson entitled Dependence on development trajectories, strata, the scale of thinking and time horizon. I recommend studying this lesson thoroughly.

The time horizon and the level of complexity of thinking in personal planning

The time horizon of thinking is not clairvoyance, but the ability to operate with a specific time perspective when analysing and making decisions. In practice, this means that if you can make a plan that has a planning horizon of 5 years, then the time horizon of your thinking is also five years.

As for the level of complexity of thinking, the measuring of it is not so easy. As far as I understand, we can indirectly assess the level of complexity of thinking by special tests, for example, a combination of tests for mental, emotional and social intelligence.

But I have not seen any separate tests for assessing the level of complexity of thinking. The only thing you can be sure of is that when drawing up a personal long-term plan, the level of complexity of your thinking will increase significantly.

Why? Just try it.

You will understand that the number of objects of planning and the trends that you have to operate in developing a personal strategy is so high that it trains your thinking better than any puzzle.

Conclusions for the development of a personal strategy

If you look at the chart carefully

stratas time horizon personal planning strategy modes trajectories career paths

you can draw and put into practice the following conclusions:

  1. The most significant influence on the development of your scale of thinking has a time horizon (this is a leap-frogging effect that takes you from one stratum to another).
  2. The different inclination of the blue lines (maturation modes) means that the higher your starting level of the time horizon, the faster the further development of your thinking and abilities.
  3. The slope of all blue lines decreases with age, which means that the older you are, the harder it is to develop. But, as can be seen, the higher the time horizon, the greater the slope, which means that the higher the time horizon, the more effectively we develop at a later age. Therefore, it is never too late to increase your thinking scale.


Te longer the time horizon, which you operate in making decisions, the better.

And now let’s think how not to move along these blue lines predetermined by your inner circle, environment and your path? How to move not along the red trajectory along which the majority moves? How to live along the green and yellow routes, consistently jumping into a new stratum and a new maturation mode?

How to do it not by decades, but within a year or two? Are there any ways to do this quickly???


Developing a personal long-term strategy can quickly enhance your mindset.

Can you enhance your mindset?

Yes you can.

Is it easy?

Not as easy as you would like.

Elliot Jaques’ theory (Requisite Organization) says that on average people cannot move from one line (stratum) to another, although he assumed that some people could do it. Who are these chosen people, and how can they succeed?

We have already figured it out. Developing, maintaining up to date and continuous implementation of the personal strategy over a long time horizon increases the scale of thinking and transfers a person into another stratum.

Everybody makes their conclusion. It is worth noting that in addition to the mindset and planning horizons, an essential characteristic of people is the ability to make a quick decision.

The correctness of the decision to develop a personal strategy was justified in this article above. The speed of decision-making depends on you.

What time horizon should you choose??

Much depends on your age. As you see, the younger you are, the more opportunities there are to move to higher maturation modes (the blue lines are closer to each other at a young age). Therefore, young people can still operate with personal time horizons of 1-2 years, although I believe that in this case, we voluntarily miss many opportunities.

And if you are already over 40, you should not even talk about plans for 1-2 years, the horizon of your planning should be more significant. The fact is that young people, as a rule, are in a more dynamic situation. Their paths can still change as the dependence on the distance travelled is not so great.

But if a young person has already made a choice and, for example, enrolled in university, then the trajectory of his development becomes quite viscous. In that case, it is still possible to switch to another path but with rather significant efforts, because the training program can quite determine your future for the coming years.

Nevertheless, when you are 20, and you still plan your life for 1-2 years, then you are going to end up in stratum 5-7, which is not bad and there is a potential for moving along the career path and self-realisation in life (subject to certain conditions).

And if you are already 40, then with a time horizon of 1-2 years you will not even get into the fifth stratum. And, most likely, you will remain in the fourth. Your growth will be very doubtful, and you will not come to the desired result.

Some may argue that they are currently doing a strategic project with a planning horizon of 1-2 years, and they do not need a more extended period. That approach is quite understandable from the ordinary point of view. But something tells me that when they say that, they don’t think about answering the following questions beyond the project’s frame:

  • Why is this project needed?
  • How to get out of it?
  • How to manage it?
  • How will the consequences of this project be distributed across different areas of life?

Therefore, developing a personal strategy on our course, we expand the time horizon and create a detailed plan to get synergy from each area of life.

I repeat once again: the more your time horizon, the more opportunities to realise your talents, achieve the goal of life and get satisfaction from it. Things are easy – start developing a personal strategy.

How to increase the time horizon and scale of your thinking?

Our course is designed so that you can independently develop a detailed plan for your transformation using our methodology with all the necessary templates and examples.

What other way or tool besides the development of a personal development strategy will allow you to make a breakthrough in changing yourself and achieving personal goals?

If you know, tell us.

Only a long-term personal strategy will help you define your goals and in a non-random way, take you to a new level of development.

At the same time, we are not talking about drawing up a plan for your life on one sheet of paper. Your life is unlikely to fit on one sheet. Your task in the course is to create a framework for personal strategy and fill it with dynamic content that can be easily adjusted and adapted to the changing external conditions. To quickly change the plan, we use our structured method and the Scrum (more details in the course description).

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Do it strategically!

Deem Rytsev Rytsev Dmitry ©Deem Rytsev - the author is the founder of Strategium.Space and NooSphereum.Org and specializes in strategic management in his scientific and business activities.

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